New Year's Honour for Nailsea man
A man who fought tirelessly for better public parks across the country has been rewarded for his work in the Queen's New Year's Honours.
Alan Barber, aged 66, of Shipham Close, Nailsea, has been awarded an OBE for services to the environment.
Alan, a grandfather of five who is now a freelance management consultant, has spearheaded campaigns to secure more cash to improve and restore parks for more than two decades and describes himself as a 'lifelong campaigner for better public parks.'
Alan started his campaigning with friend David Lambert in 1999, forcing a House of Commons inquiry into the state of public parks.
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The Government agreed action needed to be taken and that a national agency should be set up to champion public parks.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) took on the role and set up CABE Space to which Alan was appointed commissioner in 2003.
He was also involved in the launch of the Heritage Lottery Fund's Public Park scheme in 1996 which has seen more than £300 million poured into improving and restoring public parks.
Alan also worked as parks manager for Bristol City Council from 1974-1992 and the rose garden at Ashton Court was named after him following a makeover last year.
He was also involved in a campaign in 2007 calling for Bristol City Council to reverse a decision it made to use money generated from the sell off of its open space to bolster its coffers.
The campaign saw the council make a u-turn and agree to use the money to improve public parks across the city.
Although Alan, who also used to lecture at Sheffield and Manchester universities in urban landscape management, has now officially retired due to health reasons he is still an active volunteer campaigner.
He is also an occasional columnist for Horticulture Week and next month has a 5,000 word paper appearing in the Journal of Chinese Landscape Architecture.
Alan, who is married to Jan Barber, a long-standing member of Nailsea Town Council and a North Somerset councillor, said it came as a total surprise when he was told he had received an OBE.
He said: "Campaigning for better public parks is my life and I don't intend to stop until I collapse in a heap.
"I am still busy campaigning, writing and getting involved in research projects and although I have retired, I do not want to acknowledge the fact.
"I was very surprised but delighted to have been awarded an OBE and I am looking forward to meeting the Queen to receive it at Buckingham Palace."